Sigh. What a disappointing series.
Robinson Tejeda's struggles continued on Sunday, as he surrendered five runs (three earned) in just five innings on five hits and five walks. After escaping a bases loaded jam in the 1st inning, Tejeda pitched solid through the next two innings, but a two out, two run RBI single in the 4th inning put the Rangers in a 2-0 hole.
The wheels completely fell off for Tejeda in his final inning of work, as he led off the 5th inning with a double, wild pitch and RBI single. Robinson managed to retire Travis Hafner and Trot Nixon, but gave up yet another two out, two run RBI single to put Texas down 5-0.
Tejeda now has a 6.61 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in 95.1 IP this year, and he's not really showing any signs of getting back on track. It's hard to believe this is the same pitcher who threw seven dominant innings in the Rangers' 2007 home opener. Since Texas won't need a fifth starter until August 4th due to the way their off-days are scheduled, it appears Tejeda will likely be optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma in the hopes of getting him straightened out.
Offensively, only Marlon Byrd did anything of particular note, going 3 for 4 with a triple. Although Byrd isn't really considered as a defensive wizard in center field, I have to wonder if the Rangers aren't considering him as a major option for the center field job in '08. He's still playing a bit over his head, I think, but the fact remains that Byrd is hitting .355/.404/.516 after nearly a third of a season, and it's starting to appear more and more likely that this is for real.
He'd certainly come cheaper than Torii Hunter, who's two years older than Byrd and will likely command something in the range of five years, $70 million this off-season. The rest of the free agent center field crop includes Eric Byrnes (who wants 5 years, $45-50 million and isn't that great), Andruw Jones (who's having a miserable season), Corey Patterson (who can't hit), Aaron Rowand (another likely overpay) and Kenny Lofton, among a few others.
Gerald Laird will not play in tonight's game against Seattle, but he hopes to return for the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader, after being hit on the left hand by a Paul Byrd fastball on Sunday. Very lucky break (no pun intended) for the Rangers, because it certainly appeared to be more serious than merely a bruise when it happened.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Gil LeBreton has a nice piece out today, touching on the accusations from rival executives that Jon Daniels is overvaluing his players.
Lone Star Ball's Adam Morris has some chat highlights from ESPN Insider's Buster Olney, which don't seem to paint a particularly optimistic picture for the Rangers as we approach the trade deadline. Entering a "Teixeira must be traded at all costs" state of mind is one of the worst things Daniels could do right now, and hopefully Olney is off-base with his remarks.
And finally, condolences to the family of Tulsa Drillers first-base coach Mike Coolbaugh, who was killed on Sunday in the 9th inning of a Texas League game by a line drive that struck him in the head. The 35-year-old Coolbaugh played professional baseball for 16 years as a member of nine different organizations, including a one-year stint in the Rangers' minor league system.
Coolbaugh's brother, Scott, is the hitting instructor at Double-A Frisco. Mike is survived by his wife, Mandy, and his two sons, with a third child due in October. Very tragic situation all the way around, and especially so for Tino Sanchez, who hit the fatal line drive. Rest in peace, Mike.
Monday, July 23rd Game Preview
Seattle Mariners (54-41) at Texas Rangers (42-56)
Horacio Ramirez (5-2, 5.89 ERA) vs. Kevin Millwood (6-8, 5.50 ERA)
7:35 PM CST in Arlington, Texas (Rangers Ballpark in Arlington)
TV: FSNSW | Radio: KRLD 1080 AM